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Death Hunt

Modified on 2012/05/31 00:40 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands
   ...if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at the risk of their lives and the risk of all they hold dear, then bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and win for themselves the domination of the world.

   Theodore Roosevelt

   The story begins the day after Dean and Sharona leave the group. Ryan is understandably devastated, so they jump to a new redoubt.
   They arrive in the middle of a desert, somewhere in the northwest. JB says the ocean is off to the west, so they go that way.
   On the second day of travel, they finally leave the desert and enter a forest. Jak spots a mutie raccoon and kills it with a thrown knife; not long after, more come after the group, but the companions kill a bunch and drive the rest away.
   The next day, they're attacked by a horde of stickies. They're just finishing up the slaughter when a group of men come upon them; the men are from a nearby ville, and they were tracking the stickies. The leader, Horse, is the baron's sec chief; he offers the group a ride back to Pleasantville, which they accept.
   The next day, they meet Baron Ethan, who welcomes them to his ville and assigns them tasks according to their abilities (so they can earn their keep).
   Over the next few days, none of them get the chance to speak to anyone else; it's obvious the ville folk they've been assigned to work with are deliberately keeping them separate. JB finally slips out of the armory, but he's trapped in an alley and shot with a dart. Oddly, the men disappear, letting him go on his way. The rest of the group reunites, but it quickly becomes apparent that JB is sick - he's been infected with meningitis. Doc, meanwhile, is working with the archivist, Bones, who has a working camcorder. He pops a random tape into the VCR and finds out that the baron is sponsoring hunts, and that said hunts are being filmed.
   About this time, Ethan has the companions captured. Ryan, Krysty, Doc, and Jak are to participate in the hunt, while Mildred remains behind to take care of JB, along with the ville's healer, Michaela. Ethan had planned to use the stickies as prey, but since they escaped and were slaughtered, he comes up with a new idea - hypnotize Ryan, Krysty, and Doc and make them hunt Jak.
   Once they've all left on the hunt, Mildred manages to convince Michaela to help them (the healer is already opposed to Ethan, so it doesn't take much). The archivist is also a rebel, so the three of them take JB and slip out of the ville and into the ruins of the nearby city, where they head to the hospital where Ethan got his meningitis. Along they way, they're attacked by gigantic mutie bats, which kill Bones. Mildred tosses up a bag of live grenades, which one of the bats takes back to the nest and blows up.
   Meanwhile, the trio of hunters, followed by Ethan and his paying customers, chase after Jak. Jak goes after Doc first, being the weakest member of the trio. He gets Doc to shake off the effects of the hypnosis, and the pair lure Krysty into a tangled copse where the watchers can't follow on horseback. They knock her senseless and get her back to her old self.
   After receiving the vaccine, JB is able to operate on his own. They head back to the ville, where they encounter a trio of sec men. One of them is a rebel; after the other two are killed, he surrenders and joins the trio. He gets them past the guards and works up a plan for overthrowing the ville. The rebels rise up and capture key points, killing those loyal to Ethan.
   Jak, Doc, and Krysty go for Ryan. They follow the same procedure with him as with Krysty. Once everyone's been restored to their senses, they go after the baron and his customers. Ethan flees as the others are slaughtered, only to find that his ville has been taken over by the rebels. He's captured and sent through a gauntlet - if he can make it to the gates, he gets to live - but he's killed along the way.

DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of Gold Eagle / Worldwide Library, and are used here strictly under Fair Use guidelines.
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